Killer Elite is not the top performer, but it’ll do

When his mentor is taken captive by a disgraced Arab sheikh, a former killer-for-hire is reluctantly forced into a final mission in which he must take out the three SAS servicemen responsible for the death of the sheikh’s son.

Danny (Jason Statham) is a former killer-for-hire who is forced back into the game when his longtime mentor and friend, Hunter (Robert De Niro), is taken hostage. Hunter’s captives, the head of which is an ex-Arab sheikh, say that the only way he will be released is if Danny can get revenge on those who killed his son. The job won’t be easy though, as the people Danny must get revenge on used to be British SAS servicemen. One person with close involvement in the case is Spike (Clive Owen), who now belongs to a secret society for former SAS operatives. All three men are dragged back into a world that they thought they had left long ago, one that is full of revenge and deception, and one where everything is not always what it first seems to be on the surface.

Killer Elite is the very loose retelling of events that took place in 1980 that I knew nothing about, so it could have all been made up for all I know. We put it on the TV one Friday night so as to avoid having to watch season 3 of The Affair as myself and my dad are not the greatest fans of that show. We quite enjoyed the film, although it is far from Oscar-worthy let me tell you.

A couple of my favourite British actors take significant roles in this film. Jason Statham, where do we ever start with his performances? He certainly isn’t the greatest actor known to man, but, like I say, he is one of my favourites. His films are so easy-going and often feature some terrifically choreographed fight scenes. Killer Elite is a prime example of a Jason Statham film in my eyes. I loved every second of him here, although quite what country his character was supposed to be from I am not sure. It’s the first time I think I’ve ever heard someone who is supposed to be American shout ‘Oh bollocks!’ when he discovered his barbecue was burning. His accents require some practise, but he was still great fun to watch as Danny.

Clive Owen is another of my favourites, and was very good as Statham’s opponent, Spike. I’m still not sure if his character was one of the good guys or not, but I do know that I really enjoyed the fight scenes he was involved in. I think the two actors worked well together in these scenes as they looked brilliant – there were plenty of creative moves and a few hits that made us all wince a bit when we were watching the action unfold.

My one major issue with the film is some of the camera shots, especially in those fight scenes. I really wish that the camera could have been held still enough to capture the whole fight instead of obstructing our view on a fair bit of the action. That did not impress me. I do feel as though the director tried to attempt a bit too much in what I’m led to believe was his first feature film. Sometime simpler is better, and I’d have to agree here.

On the whole, despite it’s problems, you could do worse than Killer Elite. Like many films starring Statham, it was never destined to win Oscars, but it made for a half decent Friday night after dinner flick that also helped to avoid a TV show I really didn’t want to watch. Given these facts, can I really complain too much about this film? The answer is no. Does it mean I’d recommend it to everyone near and far? The answer is also no. If you’re a fan of the actors in it, you’ll want to watch it, but beyond that, I can’t really say who it would appeal to. Maybe if there’s nothing else on the TV one night, you could give it a try like I did, but I wouldn’t say you should rush to see Killer Elite before then.  

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Kira Comerford

Film and TV lover with hopes to one day make my own projects for everyone to enjoy. Until then, I'm giving my thoughts on what I watch for inspiration.

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